When it comes to forecasting the future, there are two schools of thought: one that sees our planetary cup still half full, the other alarmingly half empty. You can cast Bernardo Schorr, MFA candidate in Parsons’ Design and Technology program and Creative Technologist, with the camp predicting a gloomy dystopian future… a future where a great many of the world’s population will have to live in much smaller dwellings out of necessity, “in windowless apartments with areas limited to 100 square feet.”
But not all is lost! Schorr also believes digital technologies can be engineered to allow occupants of these micro-apartments to escape the sensation of being confined within prison cells by projecting immersive virtual environments to “expand” the walls far beyond their true dimensional boundaries. Offered as an “utopian solution for a dystopian scenario”, Schorr’s “Mixed Reality Living Spaces” project serves as an experiment for a future when windows will have become a luxury and our circadian rhythms regulating sleep and activity will be cued increasingly by a pixel perfect simulacrum of the world outside.
One moment the room is decorated like a bedroom with a nighttime cityscape view. As sleep hour gives way to the work day, the room instantly transforms into an office setting, complete with morning view, work schedule/calendar, and clock on the room’s walls. Modular furniture allows for physical reconfiguration to interplay with the virtual reality elements to expand the occupant’s sense he or she is inhabiting more than a 100 square feet room.
With the advent of 4K Ultra HD displays with barely distinguishable pixels even at nose-to-screen distances making way to market, this level of projected or displayed reality doesn’t seem so far fetched. But let’s hope Schorr’s predictions come and go unrealized, and we’re all afforded a room with a view… a real view.